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Mistakes You’re Making in Your Live Chat Support and How to Avoid Them

bad live chat support customer reaction

Mistakes You’re Making in Your Live Chat Support and How to Avoid Them

As more businesses emerge in the market, the competition to provide excellent customer experience gets tighter. According to Gartner, more than two-thirds of marketers believe that companies compete more based on customer service.

And while the rivalry of companies intensifies, customer expectation also rises. Zendesk reveals that 87% of customers hope for businesses to provide excellent customer service.

With rising expectations and the evolution of the customer experience, businesses should prepare various channels to service.

Based on the American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer, six out of ten U.S. consumers prefer digital channels for inquiries. These include website chat (24%), mobile application (14%), voice response system (13%), and online chat (12%).

All these channels boil down to offering live chat support, making it easier for consumers and customer service representatives to reach each other, and solve concerns.

However, these channels’ efficiency also makes it easier for customer service representatives to commit mistakes, which may lead to unhappy customers. This article will discuss common live chat support mistakes, customer service representatives make and how to avoid them.

Live chat mistakes and how to avoid them

Faking availability

Consumers prefer live chats because they know that there is always someone online from the other end of the chatbox. Now imagine consumers’ frustration when they engage with a live chat button, and there is no reply.

This is one of the simplest mistakes in a live chat that a customer service representative should avoid.


The solution is simple. Customer service representatives should only set themselves as “Available” only when they are actually, available.

Wasting customer’s time

The expected response time is shorter for live chats as compared to other channels. According to the Live Chat Benchmark Report 2017, consumers expect a response from live chats within 45 seconds.

Making your customers wait for too long can damage your business by getting a negative review, but it can also lead to losing customers due to bad customer service.

In a research conducted by Forrester and Amex, it was found that people ages 16-22 (also known as Generation Z) will stop doing business with a brand if their response time in live chats are slow.

Consumers value their time, and customer service agents should also value their client’s time.

Customer service representatives waste their customer’s time in various ways, and these include situations (but are not limited to) where they make customers wait for too long for a response. Or when they ask customers for information that they should already have.

It may also be by making them repeat themselves or worse, transferring them from one representative to another and having to repeat their problems.


The first step to solve this is to find out how long is too long. As previously mentioned, on average, consumers expect live chat response within 45 seconds. However, it is important to note that this response time varies per representative.

Instead of relying solely on general statistics, let customer service representatives have access to their data. Zendesk lists chats per month, missed chats, chat duration, chats per agent, messages per chat, and first reply time.

Some of the information customer service representatives should have access to assess their performance. Looking at these data, they should be able to find their average response time and relate how this corresponds to their customer’s satisfaction.

They should always keep in mind that their customer’s time is valuable, so it is important to know exactly their customers’ needs. Live chat support systems use software that provides customer service representatives basic information about their consumers.

Live chat representatives should use these pieces of information to quickly and efficiently resolve their customer’s queries. This further eliminates the need for customer service representatives to ask too much information as well as the need to pass the customers from one agent to another.

Leaving your customers hanging

Like in other customer service channels, live chat support agents may also need some time to answer their customer’s questions. After all, these customer support representatives are humans and are not machines. They need time to process information about a customer because while most support problems are recurring, no two customers are the same. Therefore it is normal to ask a customer to wait a moment. However, it is not normal and it is unacceptable to leave them hanging after asking them to wait.


Ensure that customer service representative take their customers together to solve the customer’s problems. Live chat support agents have to ensure that they are properly communicating their wait times and follow up actions to their customers.

Using overly formal language

While formal communication is useful in some support channels, especially in emails that follow the traditional formal letter formats, this is not the case for live chat support. Using overly formal language is one of the mistakes to avoid in live chat.

Live chat support takes a less formal communication approach because it is based on real-time conversations on the web.

The result of using an overly formal language in live chat support and often bulky, complicated, and impersonal texts; replies that probably took the customer service agent ages to compose.

This format compromises readability and comprehensibility and increases the customer’s waiting time for each response.


Customer service representatives need to remember that live chat support should be quick, simple, conversational, and personal. Make the encounter more conversational by writing better, as this reduces formality by writing briefly and clearly.

When explaining answers to the customer, live chat agents should keep the terms as simple as possible, avoiding technical jargon that the customer may not understand and will not be useful in solving their problems.

Another way to reduce formality and to make the chat more conversational is to use emojis. While this gives a more friendly tone, they should only use it in moderation and only when necessary.

It is also good practice for live chat support agents to add listening indicators in their chat as people use them in real-life conversations.

Indicators like, “I see,” “yes,” or “I understand,” makes the customer feel that live chat support agents take them seriously and has their attention.

Forgetting manners

The operative word for live chat support is that it is ‘live.’ Agents make the encounter as conversational as possible, and as it is a real-time exchange, it is quite easier for agents to be overly informal in the chat.

As previously discussed, writing with brevity and clarity should be practiced by live chat support agents, but either of those two equates with rudeness.


Remember to keep the business’s voice in live chat communication. This may take practice and training, especially for new agents, but it is important to reflect the business’s tone when answering customers’ questions or concerns.

Live chat support should avoid ambiguity-causing misunderstandings. Ambiguity starts to seep in when agents have short or one-word answers.

Avoid leaving statements open to interpretation, so customers won’t assume live chat support agents are rude towards them

Live chat support agents should give a clear description of what they think is the right course of action to help the customers.

Being too robotic

Businesses often reap benefits from automation. However, just like anything in excess, it can affect them negatively. While it saves time, money, and provides uniformity, that is not always the case for live chat support service.

Since automation entails automated replies from the live chat support agents, it may seem like they are not speaking or chatting with an actual person for customers.

Although it may provide consistent and controlled conversations, it is important to emphasize that customers prefer a personalized encounter rather than a robotic one.

The personal response often leads to a deeper level of help. In fact, according to a study by Ovum and Oponium, 52% of customers crave for this kind of service over the basic response a chat-bot can provide.


To avoid being too robotic, live chat support agents must use templates with caution. Providing a generic solution can bee interpreted as too scripted. Another way to sound less robotic is by limiting the use of shortcuts.

Overused shortcuts make responses sound robotic, again try to provide your explanations as simple as possible and as understandable as possible for a layman.

The best way for live chat agents to avoid these mistakes in live chat is to avoid acting like a robot while working as fast as one. It is important to remember that personality doesn’t have to be sacrificed for efficiency.

Through macros and adequate use of scripted messages, we can speed up the response time. However, it is still important to tailor the responses for your customer before replying.

As part of customer support, live chat agents should remember to be empathetic and kind to their customers. It is important to reassure their customers that they are working together in solving their problems and answering their concerns, all while conveying authority in the subject.

Creeping out your customers with data-spilling

Being in live chat support gives agents the power to access customer information that may be required to address their concerns or in solving their problems.

These data include (and are not limited to) location, device, consumer history, public information from their social media accounts, and other relevant information to provide them better service.

Live chat support agents need to handle all sensitive information and should be with caution and with utmost secrecy. One mistake live chat support agents commit is overusing this power, and creeping out their customers.

Live chat support agents should avoid making their customers feel that these agents know information about them that they have yet told them personally.


Don’t abuse the use of these features. Live chat support agents need to learn their boundaries. While their work allows them to take a sneak peek on what the customers are doing, they should be patient with their responses, and wait for the customers to send their messages first.

The last thing that live agents should want to make their customers feel is that their personal information is exposed. A simple solution to this is to be transparent about the data being collected from your customers and what they are being used for.

It is also helpful if live chat support agents refrain from asking for information that will not aid in the resolution of the customer’s concerns.

Missing opportunity to extend help

Live chat grants businesses the opportunity to provide helpful assistance to your customers. However, some live chat support agents may miss the chance to provide proactive solutions because of their reactive approach.

One example is when a customer asks for a product or service that is currently unavailable in the business’s system.

Following the responsive approach. Live chat support agents only need to answer the customer that the item he’s looking for is unavailable—end of discussion.

However, if it happens to be that the product in question is only unavailable because an upgraded version will be released soon, then this is a missed opportunity.


While it is true that answering the customer’s questions is the primary task of agents. They should also be able to spot opportunities to help the customers as well as the business. This can only be done by prioritizing the training and knowledge of live chat support agents.

They should be kept up to date on changes in stock, product developments, and other information that they may use as recommendations.

Failing to follow up

Live chat agents often make the mistake of failing to follow up on their customers after the chat has ended. However, it is essential to remember that follow up is a prime opportunity to establish a positive customer experience.

While it’s true that most customers are satisfied once their issues have been resolved. They would still remember your effort in keeping them satisfied by following up.


The solution to this is integrating the business’s live chat with its CRM solution to provide excellent customer support. It is also helpful to keep track of customer and support agent interactions.

Note when was the last time the customers reached out? What were the problems encountered, what measures were taken to resolve the issue, and how did the conversation end.

Was the problem solved? From there, set a specific date for follow up emails to reach the customers. These steps allow regular feedback and show customers that the business’s customer support team is approachable for help.

Learning from Mistakes

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes now and then, what’s important is learning from them. What poses a threat to customer experience and relationships is when businesses fail to recognize their mistakes.

The same applies to live chat support. If no amends are made to correct these mistakes. The quality of live chat support provided to consumers will only get worse.

If errors have been made, it is vital to ensure that apologies are given to the customers right at the moment they were committed. Don’t stop with an apology for the mistake, and make sure to resolve their concerns.

Remember that live chat support should help customers with their problems and keep them satisfied with the business’s service, not shoo them away.

Keep the conversations going, hire a live chat support agent in the Philippines!

Roland Francis Dacillo
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